Excessive gas and stomach bloating are debilitating and uncomfortable symptoms to live with. There are many causes of these symptoms and if you have these symptoms on a regular basis and quite significantly, then you should first go and see your doctor.
Your doctor will take a history and may refer you onto a gastroenterologist for tests to rule out serious diseases such as Cancer, Crohns and Coeliac Disease.
If all tests are clear, then the next step could be to see an integrated medical doctor who specializes in combining both western and natural medicine to treat the following conditions.
SIBO -Small Intestine Bacterial Overgrowth –
This is becoming a more widely recognized and diagnosed digestive problem. What SIBO means is the bacteria that normally colonize in the large intestine have also colonized in the small intestine where they don’t belong. What then occurs is that the bacteria in the small intestine interfere with the digestion process and the absorption of food.
This bacteria can also cause damage to the lining of the membrane of the small intestine. Read more SIBO Centre.
Breath testing is used to diagnose SIBO by measuring the hydrogen and methane production in symptomatic patients. Treatment involves killing off and starving the bacteria through either compounded antibiotics, herbs and also through limiting carbohydrates and all sugars from your diet. This treatment needs to be planned by a medical professional and not done on your own.
Leaky Gut Syndrome
– Leaky Gut Syndrome- is a diagnosis that holistic doctors and natural therapist recognize but the western medical world is still unsure of this condition although breakthrough research by Harvard coeliac researcher, Alessio Fasano, MD found that our bodies make a protein (“Zonulin”) that basically unzips the tight junctions that seal the intestinal lining, read more here. When this junction is broken it allows bacteria and toxins to slip through causing a host of auto-immune diseases. It is thought gluten, bacteria and genetic factors are just some of the culprits of Leaky Gut Syndrome. Diagnosis and treatment are usually in the hands of alternative practitioners and they have had some amazingly positive results.
Fructose Malabsorption, Lactose Intolerance and Gas
If no genuine medical reason can be found as the cause of your IBS symptoms and you generally believe you have a good diet and lifestyle then the next step would be to look into Food Intolerance’s and Food Malabsorptions. The best way to diagnose this is through testing.
A great place to start is to to ask your doctor for a referral for a breath hydrogen test to check for fructose and lactose intolerance. This procedure is completely non-invasive. See Fructose Malabsorption Symptoms and Treatment.
You should also ask your doctor to check you for Hereditary Fructose Intolerance, this is a serious and potential life threatening intolerance to fructose and needs strict dietary management under a qualified medical team including a dietitian.
If your receive a diagnosis that you do malabsorb either, or both, fructose and lactose, then you will notice a huge difference if you modify your diet to remove all foods high in FODMAPs (fermentable oligosaccharides, disaccharides, monosaccharide’s and polyols.
See my list of High FODMAP Foods To Avoid.
For a sensitive gut a low FODMAP diet is often not enough, you may need to also address food combining. The wrong food combinations e.g meat and potatoes, or rice and tofu can send your digestive system into crisis and the result is excessive flatulence and bloating etc..
For further reading on food related causes of excessive flatulence and bloating see my article – Excessive Gas And Bloating, Diet Related Causes.